Jul 22, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Studies Bulletin 
2022-2023 Graduate Studies Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

Clinical Psychology, PhD

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Professor Sanderson, Graduate Program Director, 516-463-5633

The PhD program in clinical psychology provides doctoral students with assessment and therapeutic skills along with a solid scientific foundation to work with and study the wide variety of psychopathologies found among the mentally ill. The program employs a scientist-practitioner model of education. Program graduates have readily found employment in mental health clinics, group practices, public and private agencies, as well as hospitals and medical centers. Many have chosen academic paths by becoming college and university faculty members, medical school faculty, research scientists, expert consultants, or editors for psychological publishers.  

The clinical psychology program is based upon cognitive-behavioral theory and represents the full psychotherapeutic spectrum of this orientation. Many behavior therapies and cognitive-behavior therapy skills are taught, including operant and applied behavior analysis techniques, systematic desensitization, exposure therapy techniques, cognitive therapy, rational-emotive-behavior therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and mindfulness meditation. Through lectures, readings, discussions, and role-play, students begin to gain psychotherapeutic skills. Competency is further developed through practica in the Psychological Evaluation, Research and Counseling (PERC) clinic on campus where students receive experience and supervision in psychodiagnostic methods, in interviewing, and in psychotherapy with a wide variety of patients of differing ages, backgrounds, and presenting problems. Therapeutic modalities of intervention include both individual and group work and may involve a number of the specialty clinics at PERC, such as the Acceptance and Commitment (ACT) Clinic, the Anger Institute, the Anxiety Disorders, and Depression Clinic, the Childhood Disorders Clinic, and the Phobia and Trauma Clinic. Students participate in externships and are thus exposed to a wide range of clinical, community, and educational problems that will help them to be prepared to function and offer services in a variety of clinical settings. The final clinical experience of the program is participation in a full-year clinical internship where the students serve as staff members.

At the same time as psychotherapeutic skill is developed, research skills are honed through a variety of statistics and methods classes leading to research projects. From the first year onward, doctoral students are encouraged to participate with the research-active faculty of the clinical program. This mentorship model frequently results in our doctoral students becoming co-authors of publications and co-presenters of this research. Student attendance and participation at national and international conferences are common. Students will be awarded an MA in Psychology after successful completion of the first year of the program (33 credits).  The culmination of a doctoral student’s research is the successful written and oral defense of his or her dissertation project, etc.

The PhD program in clinical psychology is accredited by the American Psychological Association.  Further information on this accreditation may be found at the APA website or by contacting the American Psychological Association, Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, 750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242, 202-336-5979. EMAIL: apaaccred@apa.org

Note: Professional Liability Insurance for Doctoral Candidates

All doctoral candidates in professional psychology are strongly recommended to purchase American Psychological Association sponsored Professional Liability Insurance. This provides coverage while performing professional duties as a psychologist in training. Such coverage should be obtained at the very beginning of training. For information, contact the director of the doctoral program in which you are enrolled, or apply directly through the American Psychological Association.

Selection of Doctoral Students

The selection of doctoral students is a lengthy and difficult process as many excellent applications are received annually. A multitude of factors play a role in the decision-making process including an applicant’s academic history, research experience, recommendations, diversity in its multitude of forms, match with faculty interests, motivation for professional study and promise for the field. Admissions decisions are made with the input of the whole clinical psychology core faculty.

All applications are first reviewed for meeting the minimal standards of the program as listed below. Of those meeting requirements, a limited number of qualified applicants are invited for personal interviews on campus to meet faculty and current students. An additional part of the visit is a tour of our clinic, labs and other major campus facilities. We consider the interview day a critical part of our admissions process and demonstration of your sincere interest in attending our doctoral program. We try to post our interview day on our program’s home page to allow you to keep this date available. (In exceptional circumstances a phone or computer-based video interview may serve as a substitute for the personal visit.) Following the interviews, candidates are ranked by faculty and then offers are made based upon the rankings, number of program openings available and written acceptances of new students secured by the program. Verbal offers are always followed by letters in which offers and financial awards (if offered) are fully explained. This process may continue until approximately April 15th in compliance with both the CUDCP and COGDOP training council guidelines for making offers of doctoral admissions.

Application for Admission

Applications completed by December 31 will be screened for regular acceptance. Applications completed after December 31 will be considered late and will be reviewed only if there are openings. Information about the program and application material can be obtained from the Graduate Admission Office. Students are accepted only for the fall semester of each year.

Admission Requirements

  1. Successful completion of the baccalaureate degree at an accredited institution.
  2. GRE Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing scores must be provided from an examination within the previous five years of the date of application. For non-native speakers of English, a TOEFL may be required unless waived by the program director, after having received evidence of English-language proficiency.
  3. A score on the GRE Psychology subject test is required.
  4. Candidates are expected to have preparation in:
    • Elementary Statistics
    • Research Design
    • Psychopathology/Abnormal Psychology
    • Experimental Psychology/Laboratory
  5. A personal essay with statement of professional goals.   
  6. A personal interview with a program faculty member.
  7. Three to four letters of recommendation.
  8. A curriculum vitae listing educational and professional experiences and accomplishments.

Program Requirements - Semester Hours: 105

Required Courses

The following courses are required unless transfer credit or a waiver is granted. No more than 12 transfer credits are accepted toward the degree.

Graduation Requirements

  1. Completion of the 105-credit program.
  2. Successful completion of two Qualifying Examinations (research, clinical) which typically take place during third year of the program. Students who fail to pass either qualifying exam on two occasions will be dropped from the program.
  3. Students must receive a minimum of a B in all courses (minimum accepted competency).  If a student earns a C or D in a course the program director will be notified by the course instructor, and a plan to improve the grade to at least a B will be developed, including the possibility of repeating the course. Students who do not raise their grade to at least a B will be dropped from the program. Students who receive more than two Cs (prior to remediation) or more than 1 D (prior to remediation) will be dropped from the program.
  4. A grade of F is grounds for immediate dismissal from the program. If a student earns an F, the instructor of that course will inform the program director who will then convene a meeting of the core program faculty to discuss the circumstances in which the F has been earned. A letter which reviews the deliberations of the core program faculty will be generated by the program director with a copy sent to the student.
  5. Students are expected to behave in an ethical and professional manner according to the guidelines for student conduct and academic honesty at Hofstra University, and the Ethical Standards for Psychologists published by the American Psychological Association. Satisfactory interpersonal behavior and professional performance in classes and meetings, on practica and internships, etc. is expected. When a report of an ethics violation or an interpersonal problem which may be impeding professional growth is received, the Program Director will convene a meeting of the Core Program Faculty to discuss the circumstances under which the violation or problem arose. After a faculty investigation, a report will be issued that may clear the student of any wrongdoing, place the student on probation with a plan for remediation, or dismiss the student from the program. A letter which reviews the deliberations of the Core Program Faculty will be generated by the Program Director with a copy sent to the student.
  6. Students must obtain and complete a psychological internship during their 5th, 6th, or 7th year of the doctoral program. The internship must minimally comply with standards for psychological internships of the Association for Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC). It is the student’s responsibility to meet all deadlines for internship application and to provide proof that the internship has been successfully completed.
  7. Completion of a satisfactory research dissertation.
  8. Satisfactory performance in an oral examination, to be given subsequent to the completion of the dissertation.

Footnotes (*/**/***)

*A student who has not made sufficient progress on the dissertation to gain permission of the members of the committee to begin collecting data, will have to repeat the course, paying full fee. A student must maintain continuous enrollment in this course, registering for it during the fall and spring semesters. A student must complete the work for this course within two semesters. If sufficient progress has not been made by the end of this period, the student will have to enroll in PSY 603A - Extended Dissertation Advisement . This course may be taken only once. If the student does not complete the work for this course by the end of the semester, the student will be dropped from the program.

**A student who does not complete the dissertation during the semester of enrollment in PSY 604 - Dissertation Advisement , will have to repeat the course, paying full fee. Once PSY 602 - Dissertation Proposal Preparation  or PSY 603A - Extended Dissertation Advisement  has been completed, a student must enroll in 604, Dissertation Advisement, the following semester and maintain continuous enrollment in this course during the fall and spring semesters. A student must complete the work for this course within three semesters. If the dissertation is not completed by the end of this period, the student must immediately enroll in PSY 605A - Dissertation Extension . The student will be dropped from the program if all requirements for the dissertation are not fulfilled by the end of 605A. Once a candidate has begun work on the dissertation, a leave of absence from the program will not be granted, except in highly unusual circumstances.

***Many clinical seminars involve ongoing case work with patients in the Psychological Evaluation, Research and Counseling (PERC) clinic. Students may repeat clinical seminars with the permission of the seminar instructor.

Typical Plan of Study

Third Year

Course Semester Hours
PSY 295 - Psychotropic Medication  3
PSY 371 - Externship in Clinical Psychology I  1
Clinical Seminar 3
Clinical Seminar 3
Course Semester Hours
PSY 601 - Dissertation Seminar  3
PSY 372 - Externship in Clinical Psychology II  1
Clinical Seminar 3
Clinical Seminar 3


Fourth Year

Course Semester Hours
PSY 602 - Dissertation Proposal Preparation * 3
PSY 373 - Externship in Clinical Psychology III  1
Clinical Seminar 3
Clinical Seminar 3
Course Semester Hours
PSY 602 - Dissertation Proposal Preparation * 3
PSY 374 - Externship in Clinical Psychology IV  1
Clinical Seminar 3
Clinical Seminar 3


*Course may be taken twice as shown in sample plan of study depending upon progress. Extension courses available if needed. PSY 602 and 604 can only be credited one (1) time.

**Students may choose to go on internship in Year 5, 6, or 7. They must have an approved dissertation proposal by Nov. 1 in order to apply for internship starting the following year.

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